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You should prepare well for any interview situation but these days researching the company and understanding the role is definitely not enough. Interviews can take many different forms but much emphasis is now placed on how you answer certain questions. Familiarize yourself with the most commonly asked ones and prepare some well thought through answers.
You may ask why? Consider this scenario: You are feeling confident the interview has gone well so far, you have been given the opportunity to provide good examples of how your skills and experience would be of benefit to the company and then….you get asked a challenging question that you were not expecting! What do you do? Hesitate and become tongue tied or, like most people, blurt out whatever words come to mind first which you later realize didn’t make much sense or perhaps didn’t reflect you in the correct light?
Interviews have become ever more sophisticated and the inclusion of specific questions is designed to test you on all sorts of levels. Here is a list of the ten most common interview questions that you could be asked and suggestions on how best to respond. Some you may be familiar with, some not, but do you have well prepared answers for them?
This is typically the first question you will be asked once you’ve taken your seat and the interview formally starts. This is the opportunity for the interviewer to assess you as a person, both through what you say and your delivery. Remember, their first impression of you is of the utmost importance, so make sure you can answer it in a confident way – after all you know you better than anyone right? Keep it short and succinct, preferably no longer than 2 – 3 minutes.
So what should your reply cover? Make sure you have done your research on what the company expects from the successful applicant, so include information on your qualifications, personality and work experience (making sure they are kept relevant to the position in question). And avoid going into detail about personal life, family etc. at this early stage.
This seems tricky as, on one hand you want to give a favourable view of your personality and ability to do the job, while on the other, you don’t want to claim you have no weaknesses. There are several ways to answer double-edged questions like this.
So what should you disclose then? If you have thoroughly gone through the company’s profile and the job advert and description (make sure you have access to this prior to the interview), you will know the qualities the job requires, what are considered strengths and what are not.
With this knowledge you know what will be considered a weakness by the interviewer, so you can admit to those which you have that are irrelevant to the job in question. Whatever weaknesses you state, make sure your answer is a positive one by making sure you have examples of how you have overcome them in past roles.
Although the interviewer is asking you about your greatest achievement, you still have to choose one that is of most relevance professionally rather than personally. This is a good opportunity to highlight how you can contribute to the company if you are successfully recruited, so focus on an achievement that applies to the position. For example, if the role requires a significant amount of problem solving and troubleshooting, you might want to recount how you resolved a persistent problem that had plagued your company for years. Explain clearly and simply the challenge, solution and outcome and wherever possible, always quantify your results in terms of savings made and increased productivity.
This question is included to find out whether you are committed to the job and to ascertain if you are somebody who sets goals in life. It’s an undisputable fact that people who set mid and long term goals are more reliable than those who don’t. Knowing what you want in life says a lot about your personality, for example as a person who can lead and stay motivated.
Your answer should assure the interviewer that your career progression goals are in line with the actual future plans for the company. As such, it is crucial that you do your homework on the company’s future plans so that you know what to expect for yourself and whether it will meet your long-term career objectives.
This is the question designed to give your interviewer an indication of how much you know about the organization, their culture and whether you can identify with the company’s vision and values. Every business has its strong points; just make sure you focus on these in your answer. For example, if the company emphasizes its integrity with customers, then you should mention that you would like to be in such a team because you yourself believe in integrity in business.
If your values are not in line with those of the company, ask yourself honestly if you would be happy working there. Whatever you do – don’t focus on the package on offer, this will show that you could be someone who will easily move onto another company if the price is right. Make sure your answer focuses on 2 or 3 key points which match with the organization’s ethos.
Don’t at any point focus on the package on offer! Or for that matter, avoid giving the impression that you have applied purely because you need to make a living.
In fact, the best way to answer this question is to spend some time examining what you like about both the role and the company. It is likely you will find something such as the culture, work environment or role your job will play in the future success of the business.
Once you know why you want this job, you can then prepare a response that will relate to how well you fit with the position. For example, if you like the analysis work involved because you enjoy discovering more about customer behaviors, bring up that inquisitive nature of yours. Convince them that you are can offer the majority if not all the skills and traits they require and above all convince the interviewer that you will be an asset to the company.
Here, the interviewer is trying to gauge how much the job fits to your expectations. You may have quit your last job because you were unhappy about something or you may actually have no opportunity for career progression in your current role. There could be a wide variety of reasons for leaving a job. Whatever your reason is, the interviewer wants to make sure that you will be committed to their role and the business and not leave because your expectations are not met.
But whatever your reason – make sure you put a positive spin on your answer. Never complain about what made you unhappy or make derogatory remarks about colleagues or management – this is a real no, no in interviews. Instead focus on your career goals and how the job you are applying for provides a better environment for growth than your previous or current one. Emphasize what you have learned in your most recent role and the valuable skills you can now offer.
This is the answer where you link your skills, experience, education and your personality to the job itself. So you must be utterly familiar with the job description as well as the company culture. Always remember to include actual examples of your experience and achievements to date.
It is possible that you may not have as much skills, experience or qualifications as the other candidates. So what can you say that will set you apart from the rest? People are attracted to someone who is charismatic, who can show honest enthusiasm and drive and who clearly loves what it is that they do. When you emphasize your compatibility with the job and company, be sure to portray yourself as a motivated, confident and energetic person, who could be a real asset to the team in which they work.
You should really avoid going into detail on this topic until you are offered the job. However most interviewers can and do ask this question. Salary negotiation is a tough and delicate matter and some may use this question hoping that you will be the first to give a figure and set the benchmark. The repercussions of this are you could get a job offer but not at either the salary you want, or one that is market average right now.
If you have applied via a recruitment consultancy, then discuss this in detail with them prior to the interview. As part of their service they will negotiate the best package possible for you if you are offered the job, which will be in line with the salary range the company is offering.
If you have applied direct, the company may well have advertised a salary range. A good rule of thumb would be to state a figure within that, at what level is your choice. You should know your market, and if you are offering a rare skill set this means you may well be able to command a salary well above the average in your field – just don’t be greedy!
At other times, this question is designed to let interviewers see if money is the only thing that matters. So, remember to emphasize that your priority lies with the job and not just the pay packet.
This is normally the last question you will be asked before the interview ends, so it’s your chance to finish the interview on a real positive. Even if you don’t believe this is the role for you, make sure you have at least 3 prepared questions and ask them. Replying that you’ve got nothing to ask will always leave the impression to the interviewer that you are not really interested in the job.
The interviewer is going to be attracted to proactive candidates who ask intelligent questions. Make sure they aren’t those with obvious answers that you could easily get if you had done your research thoroughly. Instead, try to incorporate your knowledge of the industry and the company into a question that will address a genuine concern of yours. That way, you get to impress your interviewer and assess for a final time whether the job aligns with your expectations.
A good question to ask is what your chances are of landing the job, but make sure to word it in the right way! Thank them taking the time to interview you and express your enthusiasm for the position before asking if there is any reservation for hiring you. This will be your final chance to address any concerns the interviewer might have of employing you. Stay calm and reply objectively rather than taking any criticism personally.
Hopefully these tips give you some food for thought in your interview preparation – planning really is worthwhile, answering succinctly to any question posed ensures you will come across as confident, positive, decisive and organized.
With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.
Visit our News & Blogs portal or check out our recent posts below.
2020 was an unprecedented year for shifting businesses online. Technology, never quite in the background, arrived center stage to help drive transformation in a variety of industries. Many businesses were forced to change their processes, how they interacted with their employees, customers, and with each other. One of these major shifts was in Advanced Analytics and Insight. Stemming from a Marketing perspective which had specific deliverables of demographics, location, and consumer histories, advancements found a place in working with unstructured Data. Working in tandem with these new analytical insights, artificial intelligence brought learning, problem-solving, planning, and other naturally human behaviors to life. This includes in the creative fields, not just in traditional industries like Finance or Retail. In a study conducted by Forrester on behalf of Intel, though most businesses know Analytics can drive their business forward, less than half are taking advantage of these transformational technologies. Below are a few ways Advanced Analytics can drive business forward. 1. Decision Science and the CDO Roles Will Grow In a seemingly counterintuitive measure, while most businesses were cutting back in IT, Data and Analytics budgets were expanded. As the Chief Data Officer and Decision Science roles increase in importance, businesses who know the value of their Data can derive actionable insights and business decisions from these executive level communicators. 2. Access to a variety of Data Sources Will Help to Streamline Business Operations With most businesses operating strictly online or in a hybrid ecosystem, optimization of processes is key. In the ever-changing market systems, buyer behaviors and the consumer journey will increase dependency on Data and Analytics as businesses seek to meet consumer demand. Offering bespoke solutions and coordinating such Data sources as chatbots and call centers, businesses will have the opportunity to create a seamless system as they adopt and implement technologies such as Advanced Analytics and AI. In the right mindset, these practices can also drive partnerships within their ecosystems from Data Science to technology vendors with AI capabilities. 3. Sharpening Focus on Measurable Projects to Increase ROI Rather than rely on third parties, Data will become part of the business offering value in their operations. It will drive how they operate, deliver, and understand the needs of their consumer. Owning and managing their own Data will provide unique insights they may not have been aware of before. Sharpening their focus to get a good return on their analytics investment, businesses will broaden their ecosystem. Seeing the bigger picture, businesses will also want to access more specific insights that drive actionable answers to their questions. 4. Machine Learning, NLP, and Domain Expertise Can Help Scale Data Modelling As AI, Advanced Analytics, NLP, and Machine Learning platforms come into full swing and in combination, new Data Modelling opportunities can increase insight. Automated processes of Data classifications will drive scale increasing both the amount of Data and a granular level of detail to be extracted. The specialization of these Data platforms will only grow in importance. In our always-on, always on demand world, the need for Advanced Analytics professionals and a variety of posts in the Data profession, businesses will expect strong domain knowledge. They’ll be looking for professionals and platforms which can help them understand specific use cases. Rather than just simple demographics and birds-eye views of their consumers, they’ll want to drill down to not only what they can provide now in terms of goods and services, but anticipate what consumers will want and need for the future. In the last year, we’ve absorbed a lot of information, and have struggled to distill it in actionable insights. But, if you’re interested in Marketing and Insight, and would like to shift into Advanced Analytics and Insight, we may have a role for you. Not your bag, but interested in Life Sciences, Decision Science, Machine Learning, or Robotics just to name a few, Harnham may have a role for you. Check out our current vacancies or contact one of our expert consultants to learn more. For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to email@example.com. For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
21. January 2021
Though COVID-19 and the US Election still dominates the news, there’s a lot going in the world of Data Science, too. 2020 ramped up efforts in the healthcare industry to combat the pandemic. Cybersecurity is entering a renaissance of sorts as we tackle the misinformation age, but there’s some fun stuff, too. Here a few Data Science trends finding foundation and leverage in 2021. Businesses Kick Data Science into High Gear To stay viable, businesses are kicking their Data Strategy into high gear. From the top down, there will be an estimated increase of Chief Data Scientists to help businesses make critical business decisions from e-commerce to SaaS. Trajectory of Data Analysts Upskilling to Data Scientist Once relegated to sampling bits of data and leaving others to break it down into workflow, Data Scientists could see a boost of responsibility. The demand for soft skills, upskilling, and cross-training could reduce the need to have Machine Learning and Data Engineers process empowering the Data Scientists to do more. Breaking the Mold With businesses and education moved online, businesses will be challenged to keep employees engaged. Training and education are now available to employees and would-be Data Scientists at home for on-the-job training as they face new technologies being developed, use new tools, and lessened demand on the college degree, but the experience in applying what’s been learned. Machine Learning Gets Smarter AI and Machine Leaning applications will focus on charting algorithms to understand cause-and-effect. But it won’t happen overnight. Teaching and testing machines is intense and time consuming. These technologies might present probability, but can’t determine definites. Yet. Applying Machine Learning strategies to business problems through systems will focus businesses on finding solutions rather than focusing on building products that aren’t in their wheelhouse. Adding neuroscience and computational neuroscience into the mix for Machine Learning will see these fields grow. Ultimately, Machine Learning and AI are estimated to be the final piece in the puzzle when it comes to Data Science strategies for a variety of industries. Back to Basics As everyone gets organized in their new ways of doing business, Data Scientists are getting back to basics. Their solving big problems with better tools, technologies, and open-source information now available. The push for open access scientific and medical journals along with the global team environment offers a variety of ways in which Data Scientists can come together to focus on problems more efficiently than anyone else. In other news, projects such as the new James Webb Telescope, the open access drive for scientific and medical journals, and the latest space race information, Data Scientists have been busy getting these projects off the ground as well. Though 2020 took us by surprise in so many ways, we took what we had and ran with it. So, as we enter 2021, we’re on a unique footing from Machine Learning and AI to Data Science with the added boost of nuero-and computational science to employ every tool at our disposal. Businesses have ramped up their efforts and are empowering the professionals in the Data Strategy teams to help them make critical business decisions with an eye toward the future. Data Scientists are getting back to basics while leveraging their skillsets from open access, online education sources, and on-the-job training to solve the big problems we face. And of course, while we have our eyes on the sky when it comes to space exploration this year and our feet on the ground as we work to vaccinate populations against COVID-19, and Chief Data Scientists split their focus to improve business bottom lines, we know demand will remain high for those in the Data industry. If you’re interested in Data & Analytics, Harnham may have a role for you. Check out our current vacancies or contact one of our expert consultants to learn more. For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to email@example.com. For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
14. January 2021
From Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar’s Twitch play Among Us to Fortnite helping kids get into college, the mobile gaming industry has leapt into the new decade with gusto. It doesn’t hurt to have a few well-known names behind it, too. But it’s what AOC and Oman accomplished -normalcy - that begs the question. Could mobile gaming help us solve real world problems? A Cultural Beginning Cultural institutions, such as museums, have had a rough go of it this year. But innovation, creativity, and collaboration have come together to offer opportunities to get a bird’s eye view of the art world. Whether you play Occupy White Walls to create your own gallery bring real art into your gaming world through the Getty Museum and Nintendo’s Animal Crossing collaboration. Just a few ways these could be jumping off points to discussion for problem-solving include: Opportunities abound to host audiences from around the world without a head count capA chat function to discuss what you see, what you like, what you don’t, and what you’d like to seeCultural institutions become more open allowing anyone and everyone into its virtual wallsPerhaps even simulations and to imagine what-if scenarios for the rest of usGames could host exhibitions such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium of California who’s partnered with Animal Crossing and a fossil expert form the Field Museum in Chicago who hosts virtual tours through Twitch Games give us the opportunity to imagine what’s possible. And these games are bringing real life events and activities straight to your fingertips in mobile gaming. Ad-Tech and Analytics are In the Game Since social distancing has become the norm, gaming has exploded. Once all the numbers are in, mobile game downloads are expected to see a nearly 40% increase in 2020 from 2019. No business who sees the potential here is standing by, the least of which is advertising. If you remember cable TV or maybe still have one, the free channels were often supported by commercials. In some television shows, products were given strategic placement. Okay, so it’s probably still happening today, but now we’re used to it. Skip ahead a few generations. Hello, Ready Player One fans, and advertisers have a new platform. Or at least, they’re working on it. There are still a few kinks to work out. Some game developers are designing games to help allow advertisers to fit seamlessly into games. The audience of one engagement of TV has moved to a community engagement of many in the gaming world. Over two and half billion people are gamers across demographics of age and location. Social media still has the highest ad buys from television, but gaming is quickly catching up. As advertisers and businesses get in the game, it’s estimated there will be a monumental shift in the collective. Games have always served as a device to teach. Chess and checkers teach strategy. Monopoly teaches business and banking. Life teaches us to follow different paths and see what happens (not so different from Second Life). So, what could games teach us now with its ever increasing role in bringing groups together for engagement, community, and discussion? What role will you play in the coming year? If you’re interested in Data & Analytics, Harnham may have a role for you. Check out our current vacancies or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to learn more. For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to email@example.com. For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
07. January 2021
You’ve dotted all the ‘Is’, crossed all the ‘Ts’. You’ve ensured your business priorities were aligned with your mission and objectives. But, how can you know if you’re on the right path, especially in light of today’s uncertainties. Your crystal ball may be in the cloud, but to find its clarity, you have to be asking the right questions. Below are three questions to consider moving forward. 1. How Collaborative Are We? As businesses shift online and teams expand globally, collaborative business intelligence streamlines decision-making. A combination of BI tools, software, and social technologies to inform, engage, analyze, and form insights of what customers want and need. This form of collaboration takes decision-making out of its siloes. Not unlike the Socratic method, collaborative business intelligence solves problems through shared information to find common ground. Using business intelligence software to provide opportunities for predictive modeling, visual analysis of data and business metrics, businesses analysts can interpret and inform, in a more efficient streamlined process. 2. How Secure is Our Data? Whether big business, small business, or medium business, no one is immune to cyberattacks. The ever- increasing rise of these attacks pinpoints just how important keeping data secure is for all businesses. Breaches cause not only monetary loss, but ultimately, consumer trust leading to more loss. The importance of Data security cannot be overstated. Now that a majority of businesses are making flexible and remote work options available, it’s imperative businesses work to keep data secure. Consumers today are much more concerned today about how and why their Data is used, and many may decline to offer it, not wanting to put themselves at risk of a possible cyberattack. 3. What’s the Best Platform to Drive Actionable Insights from Our Analytics? Much like the trend of collaborative BI, businesses are focused on combining business processes and workflows into one platform, so everyone has access to the same Data. It’s within these platforms, that businesses cannot only determine what action to take and implement those actions all in one place. Platforms become the hub of the wheel and the spokes are analytics of a particular industry, business, or department in which insights can be implemented. Some platforms on the move include Sisense and Sharepoint. Google Analytics Intelligence (GAI) might be the most well-known especially if you’re just getting started asking the right questions for your business. If you want insight into the state of your business, know any major consumer traffic changes, or want to know the probable conversion rate of web browsers to customers, GAI can help you get those answers. Because it uses machine learning to help, it’s important to know not necessarily what questions to ask, but how to ask them. How to Ask a Computer the Right Questions If you’ve been working in a collaborative BI team and asking each other questions based on the data you’ve collected, it may be a bit of a mindset shift for asking questions of a computer. So, how you phrase your question, what you want to know, and how you ask may require a bit of thought to find the answers you’re looking for. Below are a few guidelines to consider when posing the questions.Follow the TrendIf you want to know what’s trending in your business, you might ask: How many products were sold last week?How many customers did I have today?Where are my customers located?What time were the most customers shopping? Which is Best? When you want to know what product is selling the most and through which means. Follow the performance. These questions might include: Which channel converted the most customers?Which product sold the most? Which product sold the least?Which hour was best for customer traffic? Compare and Contrast These are questions or commands that enable you to compare two sets of data side by side, such as how your business performed week to week, day to day, or year to year. While most questions begin with ‘which’ or ‘how’, the compare and contrast questions can get a bit more complex. In these questions, you begin with what you want to know such as conversion rate, revenue shares, traffic, or trend. As this year comes to a close, what questions will you ask of yourself? Are you ready for a change? A new role? If you’re a business, what questions will you ask to move your company forward in the new year? If you’re interested in Big Data & Analytics, we may have a role for you. Check out our current opportunities or contact one of our expert consultants to learn more. For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to email@example.com. For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
23. December 2020